5 Reasons Why Reality Television Is Good For The Soul

5 Reasons Why Reality Television Is Good For The Soul

It's true, the best way to escape reality is to watch reality TV.
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It's been a guilty pleasure of mine ever since I can remember. I can picture watching the first seasons of "Survivor" on Sunday nights and cheering for my favorite contestants on "American Idol" back in elementary school. From the very first season of "The Bachelor" and to watching "Jersey Shore" in my middle school days, I've been following various reality television shows for years. As much as we hate to admit it, it has become satisfying to live vicariously through the Kardashian clan. Knowing all along that this is nothing close to actual reality, you just can't help but indulge in the shows for an hour each night. The obsession has gotten even worse in recent years given the fact that we have Netflix now allowing you to binge-watch your favorite shows.

Fame. That's what we envy in these people. We watch them day in and day out doing everyday tasks that we also participate in. But, for a split second it runs through our head that we can some day transform from ordinary people to the rich and famous. Just take "Duck Dynasty," for example, a small-town family from the South made it big with their duck calling business. They were awarded with a reality television show following their lives filling the viewers with motivational Christian values and allowing us a glimpse into their lives. The show is not all about drama and material things, but is driven by deeper meaning. It's also pretty damn funny whenever anything comes out of Uncle Si's mouth. I strongly recommend.

When I see people hating on reality television and judging me for watching it all the time, believe me, I totally get it. It's something you either love or hate, and there is no in between. I think it's important to give it a chance, too. You never know what show you'll come across that will leave you sitting on the couch for hours on end stuffing your face with food.

Even if you're not a religious reality television viewer, these are a few of the reasons why I think watching the shows could be good for the soul!

1. It distracts you from your own problems for a bit.

Life is stressful for sure. When you've had a really crappy day leaving you with the sinking feeling that the world is truly against you, watching an episode of your favorite reality show might just do the trick. There is bound to be a conflict on every single episode, some minuscule while others tearing the entire family apart. Your problem may be greater for sure, but at least you can get a laugh out of someone else's problems or simply forget about your own for a little bit. We crave distraction and this is the best medicine.

2. It makes you feel like a certified genius.

Some of the things that come out of many of these stars mouths have you giggling. Sometimes the stupidity gives you reassurance that you're a little smarter than you think you are. A filter is definitely something many reality stars lack, which is one of the reasons we tend to love them. But, this lack of a filter also gets them into trouble sometimes when they say things that make absolutely no sense. So, next time you're feeling unintelligent, turn on an episode of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians." You'll feel like you graduated from Harvard.

3. It reminds you to not take life too seriously.

Even though you can't always afford to go on these beautiful, extravagant vacations that these families get to do, you can still take something away from the experiences. Many of the shows remind you time and time again that family is everything. No matter what life throws your way, good or bad, family should be there through thick and thin. They also remind us to never let life get too serious, because that's when you stop living. As Khloe Kardashian says, "You have your whole life to be old, but you only have a few years to be young." So drink some wine and enjoy times with friends and family. You will only regret the experiences you don't partake in.

4. It allows you to get your fill of drama.

As much as we hate drama, as humans, we also tend to crave it. You might be thinking that makes absolutely no sense. But, it's true. You don't want to be in the mix of the drama; however, you love to witness it all going down. Some reality shows are solely based off girl drama. That's not necessarily my cup of tea, but other people love to watch a good cat fight going down on "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." My favorite drama is when the Kardashian sisters throw shade at one another, but you know it's in a joking manner. Khloe is my spirit animal.

5. It always leaves you laughing.

If you aren't laughing at least once or twice during a show, then why are you watching it? You can't be enjoying yourself if you aren't laughing. Sometimes these reality stars are so dramatic and wrapped up in themselves that you can't help but to laugh. When Kim's diamond earring fell off in the Mediterranean Sea on their extravagant Greece vacation, I was literally rolling on the floor. The whole family and everyone watching at home were just like WTF. Like I said before, life gets too serious sometimes. But giving yourself a reason to laugh can do amazing things.

Cover Image Credit: http://i2.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article6763492.ece/ALTERNATES/s1200/Khloe-Kim-Kourtney-Kendall-Kylie.jpg

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Discovering Beauty In A Desolate Place

What it's like experiencing a spiritual renewal
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Hiking in the desert has never been my favorite pastime. It’s too darn hot and there are too many scorpions, rattlesnakes and cacti around for my taste. Still, as a child of about eight or nine, my family decided to go on a hike. It was probably more of a walk up a little hill, but whose keeping track?

On the way down, we decided to take a break. I sat down on a nearby rock only to find that a piece of cactus had beaten me to it. Yowzer! Suffice it to say, this moment initiated my antagonism toward cacti and desert hikes.

What is more spiky, sharp, and standoffish than a cactus? Well, we might know a person or two who could give a saguaro a run for their money. If we are honest, we all resemble these prickly plants at times.

Yet, every year I have witnessed one of the most startling and beautiful occurrences—the blossoming of the cacti.

I’ll be driving into my neighborhood when suddenly I’ll see a dazzling red flower attached to a cactus. Every year it catches me by surprise. Somehow the spikes only make the blossom more lovely, more treasured, more breathtaking.

No longer is the cactus a symbol of caution, but of welcome and renewal.

Come see me, it cries. Rejoice with me. My spikes attest to my suffering, but this blossom marks my victory.

Yes, beauty can come to the most desolate of places.

The truth is, I don’t dislike cacti anymore. I think they are magnificent and strong. Despite the dryness of their surroundings, they soak up water in their pale green trunks—the same way I should soak up the Word of God no matter where I am.

They remind me that my prickly attitude and parched soul can be revived. My scars only help point out the beauty of my spiritual rebirth.

When I was younger, I use to think that God has a sense of humor to put such ravishing flowers on such an intimidating plant. Yet the older I get, the more fitting the combination seems. He can bring beauty to the driest and harshest of places.

Praise God, this includes you and me.

He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs…”

Psalm 107:35

Cover Image Credit: Deborah Lee Soltesz

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10 'Onion' Articles That All UVA Students Can Relate To

"The Onion" has been satirizing all aspects of daily life for years, but it seems to have a particular knack for making fun of the college experience.
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If you've ever spent more than five minutes on Facebook, you've probably seen an Onion article headline flash across your screen. We've all had that moment of panic that comes with encountering a particularly realistic headline: "is this real life, or is this just fantasy?" And by fantasy, of course, I mean "is this just The Onion working its usual charm? The Onion has been satirizing all aspects of daily life for years, from marriages to parenting to celebrity scandals, but it seems to have a particular knack for making fun of the college experience, as seen in the articles below.

1. "College Professor Reminds Students It Will Take A Few Classes To Memorize Everyone’s Triggers"

Though I've never had a class in which the professor uttered this exact phrase, I have been in several classes where the professors gave trigger warnings before showing a particular movie or assigning a specific book. These warnings were almost always accompanied by an opt-out policy that if the student felt particularly uncomfortable with the material being discussed, they could leave the room. Yet I've never seen anyone actually take up the professor on this, which surprises me because, in several of my classes, at least 20% of the class leaves the room in the middle of class to go to the bathroom anyway.

2. "College Freshman From Florida Has Never Seen People Complain About Snow For 5 Months Before"

As an out-of-state student from New York, coming to college in Virginia and (gasp!) occasionally spotting snow was about as big of a deal as realizing that I'd need to do my own laundry in college. For my friends coming to school on the east coast from Arizona, California, or other snow-less states, this was definitely not the case. Snow always seems to be a controversial topic because, no matter what happens, regardless of whether class is canceled or not, people are always disappointed and frustrated.

3. "Creative Writing Professor Takes Time To Give Every Student Personalized False Hope"

I mostly included this amusing article because it is actually set in Charlottesville, which is not just close to home for UVA students, it is home. I've never actually taken a creative writing class at UVA, but from what I hear of the ENWR classes and such, a lot of times the feedback on students' writing is either unnecessarily complimentary or ridiculously harsh. It's easy to think that one brilliant paper, or one Odyssey article with thousands of page views, could open doors towards a successful writing career, but it's also important to remember not to let your head get too big from one positively received piece.

4. "University Quickly Slaps Together Rinky-Dink Ceremony For Anyone Graduating In December"

Every year, I hear about one or two fourth years I know who are graduating in December, and so I'm presuming that they're not the only ones doing so. However, I feel like I never see any celebratory pictures, from UVA or the graduating students, regarding this December graduation ceremony. Which leads me to wonder, what the heck IS the December graduation? Us May graduators may never know.

5. "College Freshman Makes Triumphant Return To High School"

As someone who enjoyed visiting my high school when I went home for breaks my first year, this one hits particularly close to, well, home. I'd strut around like I owned the place, a full 0 inches taller than I was as an actual high school student, and confidently high five my friends that were still in high school and delighted by my impromptu visit. Fast forward to the end of my third year, and it's now such a weird feeling to go back to my high school for any event. Everything and everyone seems smaller, and because I'm so old, no one in the hallways recognizes me anymore. At least I don't get sanctioned any more from the security guards preventing high school students from leaving campus during the day.

6. "College Still Looking For Absolute Saddest Place On Campus To Hold Transfer Student Orientation"

From what I've heard, at least about the transfer student orientation for the McIntire School of Commerce at UVA, it is much less about celebrating their academic accomplishments and much more about bleakly informing them that they now have to catch up on all of the culture and historical enlightenment that all other UVA students have been steeped in over their first year or two.

7. "Report: Most College Males Regularly Admit To Getting Stoked"

For whatever reason, whenever I walk around Grounds doing whatever it is that I do all day, I constantly hear guys talking about how "stoked" they are for various, not-really-stokeworthy things. Whether it's their fraternity's party this weekend or the fact that they're being really rebellious and skipping class again today, "stoked" seems to have permeated the university vernacular almost as much as "lit," "pregaming," "postgaming," and "yasssss."

8. "Excited Virginia Fans Storm Court To Beat Shit Out Of Duke Basketball Team"

I find this headline particularly amusing because nothing gets UVA fans quite as riled up as playing Duke in basketball. Not only do UVA fans want to beat Duke, many of them quite literally would like to beat up Duke. To my knowledge, it's been quite some time since UVA fans stormed the court after a game against Duke, probably because we don't beat them that much. However, I highly doubt that any post-game shenanigans would ever escalate to this level of violence, because that would violate pretty much all of Tony Bennett's "five pillars to success."

9. "Man Happy To Set Up Job Interview For Fraternity Brother He Once Forced To Drink Own Piss"

I know that fraternities are all about "forming a lifelong brotherhood" or whatever, and inevitably for some brothers, that tight-knit group eventually leads them to a network of super cool dudes that help them get a job. In my mind, there's just no way that you can totally separate being helpful and getting your brother a job interview from having mercilessly hazed him just three years before. Of course, I do not condone hazing in any way, but I'm sure this conflict of behaviors has come to the mind of at least one fraternity brother over the years.

10. "Professor Sees Parallels Between Things, Other Things"

I love this one because while UVA is undoubtedly an enlightening, inspiring place that teaches you how to expand your horizons of thought, sometimes professors take it a little too far and make tenuous connections between ideas and other ideas. I've sat in classes on several occasions in which the professor droned on about how the font of one chapter symbolizes the sexual violence present throughout the novel, or how the initials of one character are the same as the French way of saying "you're screwed," and so forth. It's great to learn about how to connect different ideas and thought philosophies in college, but there comes a time when it's okay to say, "I really just don't think these ideas have any relation whatsoever" and leave it at that.

In the midst of a tumultuous time when fake news ravages the internet and nothing is real anymore, let's all take a moment to thank The Onion for being the one beacon of truth we can all rely on. It may not report the factual truth, but it certainly reports the emotional truth that we all need to hear.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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